Ms. Marvel is the name of a fictional character appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Roy Thomas and designed by artist Gene Colan, the non-powered Carol Danvers debuted as a member of the US Air Force in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (1968) and as Ms. Marvel — a fusion of alien Kree and human genes — in Ms. Marvel #1 (1977). Writer Gerry Conway played a significant role in the character's subsequent development, who created her as the modern woman's "quest for raised consciousness, for self-liberation, for identity."
The character starred in her own series in the late 1970s before becoming associated with the Avengers and X-Men. As of 2009 Ms. Marvel appeared in two monthly titles - a second solo series penned by Brian Reed and Patrick Olliffe, and New Avengers, by Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Cho. Ms. Marvel also makes frequent appearances in other titles. The character has also been known as Binary and Warbird and has featured in other Marvel-endorsed products including arcade and video games; animated television series and merchandise such as trading cards.
The character debuted as an officer in the United States Air Force and Security Chief of a restricted military base (revealed to be the career of choice when the character's father did not wish for her to attend college), where she meets Dr. Henry Lawson, who is in reality the alien Kree hero Captain Marvel. The character only made minor appearances until the 1970s.
Caught in the explosion of a Kree device, the character gains superhuman abilities and becomes the hero Ms. Marvel. In January 1977, she is featured in a self-titled series at first written by Gerry Conway and later by Chris Claremont.Ms. Marvel guest-starred alongside the maverick superhero team the Defenders before assisting the Avengers against the robot villain Ultron. The character then had a series of semi-regular appearances in The Avengers, with additional appearances with the Defenders;Spider-Man; the Thing andIron Man.
The 200th issue of the Avengers proved controversial when Ms. Marvel was kidnapped by a character named Marcus — the apparent son of Avengers foe Immortus‚ and taken to an alternate dimension, where she was brainwashed, seduced, and impregnated. The character gives birth on Earth to a child that rapidly ages into another version of Marcus, who takes Ms. Marvel back to the alternate dimension with no opposition from the Avengers. Feminist and comic book historian Carol A. Strickland criticized the storyline in an essay titled "The Rape of Ms. Marvel." Citing Marcus's line ". . . Finally, after relative weeks of such efforts — and admittedly, with a subtle boost from Immortus' machines — you became mine," Strickland posited that Ms. Marvel's impregnation was simply rape by another name.
Former writer of the solo title Chris Claremont also commented on the inappropriateness of the storyline, and effectively "undid" the story in Avengers Annual #10 (Dec. 1980).
The character is revealed to have returned to Earth — courtesy of Immortus' technology after Marcus continued to age and die of old age — but is attacked by the mutant Rogue, who permanently absorbs the character's abilities and memories. Danvers' memories are later restored by the character Professor X, and an angry confrontation with the Avengers concerning their apathy follows. Claremont continued to develop the character in the title Uncanny X-Men, as using espionage, Danvers enters the Pentagon and wipes old government files on the X-Men. During an adventure in space with the mutant team the X-Men, the character is changed courtesy of experimentation by the alien race the Brood into a newly empowered character called Binary. Drawing on the power of a cosmic phenomenon called a white hole, Danvers becomes capable of generating the power of a star. As Binary, the character has a number of encounters with the X-Men; New Mutants; a solo adventure and with the offbeat team Excalibur.
Claremont expanded on the incident with the character Rogue by having the Ms. Marvel persona slowly assert itself on the villain-turned-hero. This happens to Rogue on two occasions before she eventually completely falls under its control to the extent of donning an old Ms. Marvel costume. Magneto is eventually able to destroy the persona and free Rogue.
The character continued to make sporadic appearances, and two additional issues planned for the original title — prevented by cancellation — were printed in a quarterly anthology series. The same year the character was also used extensively in the storyline Operation Galactic Storm. By the conclusion of the story the character has expended almost all her new abilities, reverting to use of the original Ms. Marvel powers.
After several more team and solo appearances the character then rejoins the Avengers with the new alias Warbird. Writer Kurt Busiek adds a new dimension to the character and casts her as an alcoholic, struggling to come to terms with the loss of her cosmic powers and memories. Danvers disgraces herself during the "Live Kree or Die" storyline and is soon suspended from active duty.
The character then featured as "Captain Marvel" in a false reality created by mutant the Scarlet Witch in limited series House of M. This reality pandered to Carol's subconscious desire to be accepted as she proved to be the most popular superhero on Earth. Ms. Marvel then came to prominence again when the character was launched in a second self-titled volume Together with fellow Avenger Iron Man, Carol also becomes a principal advocate of the Superhuman Registration Act during the events of Civil War. The story also continues in Ms. Marvel's own title as the character battles the anti-registration heroes led by Captain America.
The storyline has major consequences for the New Avengers, with the team splitting and the pro-registration heroes - including Ms. Marvel - forming their own team, debuting in Mighty Avengers. Carol enters into a relationship with fellow member Wonder Man; appears in a crossover series with the robot Transformers and becomes eventual leader of the team.
After a humorous encounter with Spider-Man Ms. Marvel also plays a significant role in the limited series Secret Invasion against the alien shape-shifting Skrulls. At the conclusion of the war with the Skrulls, Norman Osborn is put in charge of the registered Avengers team; refusing to serve under Osborn, Ms. Marvel flees Avengers Tower and joins the New Avengers and becomes second-in-command. Osborn appoints former Thunderbolt member Moonstone as the "new" Ms. Marvel to his Dark Avengers team; Moonstone wears a variation of Ms. Marvel's original costume.
A recent promotional image on Marvel.com for the upcoming "War of the Marvels" storyline features who appears to be Carol Danvers and the new Ms. Marvel, Karla Sofen battling each other in the skies of New York.
Writer Gerry Conway wrote in his introduction to the series, ". . . you might see a parallel between her quest for identity, and the modern woman's quest for raised consciousness, for self-liberation, for identity." The character's costume and powers were also derived from the character's then-contemporary male counterpart: Captain Marvel. Furthermore, the character's blonde hair and civilian name of Carol Danvers form a clear connection to DC Comics's Supergirl, a character created entirely in imitation of a male counterpart (and whose secret identity was Linda Lee Danvers).
The Ms. Marvel letters page ("Ms. Prints") featured letters debating whether or not the character was feminist. Reader (and frequent letterhack) Jana C. Hollingsworth took issue with Ms. Marvel's entire origin:
|“||For the eleven years I've been a comics fan, I've been proud of how Marvel resisted the temptation to create male-based heroines à la Supergirl. It's been proudly proclaimed that Ms. Marvel is not Marvel Girl; well, maybe the early Marvel Girl did have weak powers and an insipid personality, but at least her powers were her powers and her personality was her personality. . . . I hope you can change her costume if it's all possible, and keep her on her own instead of associating her with Captain Marvel. . . .||”|
It has been noted that "Danvers' initial appearances portrayed her as a strong character, but that changed over time -- even after she gained super powers." When Ms. Marvel received her own title in the 2000s, Marvel was "determined to have the character take center stage in the Marvel Universe" with "Joe Quesada and the other powers [having] had the character play major roles in their huge 'House of M' crossover, in the 'New Avengers' and in the gargantuan success that is "Civil War." "Writer Brian Reed has had Ms. Marvel overcome worthy challenges ranging from alien invasions, time-traveling sorcerers and former teammates turned enemy."
Ms. Marvel initially possessed superhuman strength, endurance, stamina, flight, physical durability and a limited precognitive "seventh sense".
As Binary, she could tap the energy of a "white hole", allowing her to manipulate stellar (or "cosmic") energies, which she could radiate as heat, light, and the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum as well as gravity fields. After a massive expenditure of stellar energies, she would revert to human form and needed to rest in that state. She possessed strength far greater than her original level, and when flying could shunt herself to hyperspace to exceed light speed, and could exist in the vacuum of space unprotected. Binary manages to force open a Shi'ar Stargate, a feat only ever otherwise performed by beings on the power level of Thor or a Herald of Galactus.
After Danvers' link to the white hole from which she drew her powers was severed, she lost the bulk of her cosmic powers, but still retained her potential for energy manipulation in addition to her original powers of superhuman strength, injury resistance, and flight as well as the ability to take on her Binary appearance. Ms. Marvel can discharge explosive blasts of radiant energy, which she fires from her fingertips. She also demonstrates the ability to absorb other forms of energy, such as electricity, to further magnify her strength and energy projection, up to the force of an exploding nuclear weapon. When sufficiently augmented, she can withstand the pressure from a 92-ton weight, and strike with a similar level of force. Hank Pym theorized that this likely was not her limit. Carol cannot absorb magical energy without consequence, though she aided Dr. Stephen Strange in the defeat of the mystic menace Sir Warren Traveler.
Hank McCoy had theorized that Ms. Marvel would no longer be able to access her cosmic-level powers, yet she was apparently briefly restored to Binary status, after being exposed to great power while battling the sentient energy being The Collective. As a result of sharing her body with the alien Cru, she temporarily gained a powerful healing factor. In order to separate the two, Carol temporarily lost her powers. However, after apparently being killed by the Brood Queen, her Binary powers were again temporarily restored but lost this healing factor.
Carol Danvers is also an exceptional espionage agent, hand-to-hand combatant, markswoman and a talented writer.
- Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (1968)
- Ms. Marvel #1-23 (1977-1979)
- Avengers Annual' #8 (1978), #10 (1980)
- Marvel Super-Heroes vol. 2 #10-11 (1992)
- Ms. Marvel vol. 2 #1-37 (2006-2009)
- Mighty Avengers #1-20 (2007-2009)
- Ms. Marvel Special #1 (2007)
- Giant Size Ms. Marvel #1 (2006)
- New Avengers #48-present (2009-)
An evil version of the character joins the alternate universe explorers Weapon X in Exiles #38 (Feb. 2004), becoming the lover of master villain Hyperion. The character is later killed in Exiles #45 (June 2004).
As seen in Marvel Mangaverse: Avengers Assemble #1 (Mar. 2002), the character retains her military persona as Lt. Carol Danvers USAF.
In the universe of the Ultimates, Agent Danvers has no super powers, and instead relies on advanced S.H.I.E.L.D. technology. In Ultimate Power #9 (Feb. 2008), the character becomes acting Director of spy organization S.H.I.E.L.D. after Nick Fury's disappearance.
In the limited series X-Men: The End 1 - 3 (Oct. 2004 - Aug. 2006), the character exists as pure energy and controls the spaceship the Starjammer.
- Carol Danvers appears in the X-Men animated series in the Season 2 episode "A Rogue's Tale".
- Ms. Marvel appears as a playable character in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance voiced by April Stewart.